Lee Falk's creations , the King Features Syndicate characters The Phantom and Mandrake The Magician , are still published as syndicated strips , but I don't know , for instance , how many people here follow those versions , even .

  There have been many publications of the characters over the years - However , frankly , for one , since they have generally stayed away from the DC-Marvel world , many US comics fans would be fairly foggy about those characters , though I think ( especially Mandrake ) they have a certian " You've heard of the names " recognition - if not much to follow that !!!!!!!!!!!

  Actually , the comics-shop era has seen an awful lot of Phantom comic books especially from a variety of different publishers - Which , however , arguably have tended to try to make the Phantom more like the perceived mainstream for a US comic book character .

  At present , Dynamite?? is publishing the Alex Ross-connected " The Last Phantom " miniseries , which I have only seen (6 bought) one issue of , which GREATLY retcons - and " grim and gritties " (!) - the Phantom concept .

  Comics Revue magazine , which I wish I could get more regularly , offers pre-60s reprints of the strips of both characters regularly .

  When I first got on the Web , I found out especially how popular the Phantom is in some non-USA markets - where he has MANY stories published , in comic-book form , which are never published in the US - including , at times , ones by name US pros !!!!!

  Let's discuss these famous characters...

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I grew up reading The Phantom as a daily and Sunday strip in one of my hometown newspapers, but I haven't seen it in years, and haven't seen any of the recent comic books -- just the series DC did in the '80s and some of the Charlton issues drawn by Jim Aparo in the '70s.

 

I'm a huge fan of the Phantom, and think he has been handled exceptionally well for most of his long history.  But I'm something of a purist when it comes to his non-newspaper strip appearances (they don't count!)

 

Here's a short discussion we had on the Phantom lately.  2011 is the Phantom's 75th Anniversary, and if he isn't the 'first superhero' he's the first to have so many trappings of what the man in the street expects a superhero to have. Skintight costume, secret base, secret identity, exceptional skills, explicit mission to fight crime etc.

I never really cared for the Phantom.   We only got the Sunday color strips here when I was growing up, and they always seemed to me to be more concerned with his domestic life with his wife and twins than any real adventures.

 

And the twins, in their white diaper-looking outfits, creeped me out.

I was aware of the Phantom and Mandrake from a very early age (as anyone who followed the link Figs posted knows). In addition to the King comics, I also had the Phantom suit for my Captain Action Doll. I'm not so interested in the current Phantom or Mandrake (or Dick Tracy or Orphan Annie) as I am the classic material. I am very much enjoying the new series of strip reprints, The Phantom Dailies, currently being published by Hermes Press.
When I was growing up our local newspaper only carried the Sunday version of the Phantom, I believe Sy Barry was the artist during that time. Barry had what I view as a Silver Age DC art style - straight forward with fine, realistic rendering of the figures. I was intrigued by the concept that the Phantom identity was handed down generation to generation creating the illusion of "the ghost who walks".

I'm aware of both characters, but I never read their adventures growing up, either in the newspaper or in the King comics. So I have no nostalgic connection and very little interest over all in them. Reviving them in any big way might be difficult, given their low profile. A guy in a purple skintight suit in a jungle story and a hypnotist/magician would be a pretty hard sell, I'm afraid.

I'm not sure how the Phantom qualifies as a super-hero, but I don't really know his history. I'm not even sure why he wears that gaudy suit in the jungle and what the mask hides. So I'm a pretty hard sell on getting excited about him.

-- MSA

The Phantom and Mandrake are important historical figures but I haven't been too impressed with the current revivals. I recently dropped The Last Phantom and I wanted to like it!

Figs says that he gets reprints of the old strips as annuals. I would buy that in a minute!

...For some basics on the Phantom , MSA , he is supposed to be the 21st generation of Phantoms , deriving from the first , a cabin boy on a ship marauded by pirates who landed in Bangalla , the African country that is now his HQ .

  He swore an oath on his father's grabe to fight all piracy , cruelty , etc.

  He is supposed to be , in theory , non-superpowered and just trained to the absolute maximum .

  THe strip started in 1936...and , frankly , the reign of the 21st Phantom , and his GF-later-wife Daina Palmer , has been unaturally extended , certainly if there was any kind of " real " logic we'd be on the 23d or 4th by now , jus' a lil' bit o' SOD there .

  The costume's color - even shade , within the basic color has changed greatly , especially worldwide . ( The strip didn't add a Sunday for a number of years so Falk didn't have occasion to straightforwardly decide for a while . )

  THere are occasional flashback episodes of earlier Phantoms in Falk's strip's ( Especially a " Girl Phantom " from the late 19th Century who filled in for her brother for a while . ) , more in the non-Falk versions , especially the European publications .

  THe Phantom is shown as having children with his wife , who live with himein Bangalla...Axctually , in the early years of the strip I believe that what was then known as " Dutch East INdia " ( INdonesia now . ) was more or less the setting , but Falk tended to come of with stories involbing Indian settings as well .



Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...For some basics on the Phantom , MSA , he is supposed to be the 21st generation of Phantoms , deriving from the first , a cabin boy on a ship marauded by pirates who landed in Bangalla , the African country that is now his HQ .

  He swore an oath on his father's grabe to fight all piracy , cruelty , etc.

  He is supposed to be , in theory , non-superpowered and just trained to the absolute maximum .

  THe strip started in 1936...and , frankly , the reign of the 21st Phantom , and his GF-later-wife Daina Palmer , has been unaturally extended , certainly if there was any kind of " real " logic we'd be on the 23d or 4th by now , jus' a lil' bit o' SOD there .

  The costume's color - even shade , within the basic color has changed greatly , especially worldwide . ( The strip didn't add a Sunday for a number of years so Falk didn't have occasion to straightforwardly decide for a while . )

  THere are occasional flashback episodes of earlier Phantoms in Falk's strip's ( Especially a " Girl Phantom " from the late 19th Century who filled in for her brother for a while . ) , more in the non-Falk versions , especially the European publications .

  THe Phantom is shown as having children with his wife , who live with himein Bangalla...Axctually , in the early years of the strip I believe that what was then known as " Dutch East INdia " ( INdonesia now . ) was more or less the setting , but Falk tended to come of with stories involbing Indian settings as well .

 

 

 

 

( NOTE: I did a revision/expansion of this one just a few minutes ago , I hope that it's not lost in the ether waves !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )



Philip Portelli said:

The Phantom and Mandrake are important historical figures but I haven't been too impressed with the current revivals. I recently dropped The Last Phantom and I wanted to like it!

Figs says that he gets reprints of the old strips as annuals. I would buy that in a minute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...Yeah , in Australia , a company named Frew Publications publishes a Phntom comic book , which is in black and white , and comes out more frequently than bi-weekly !

  Something like 30 TIMES A YEAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:-0

  It's come out since the late 40s , and is well into the FOUR FIGURES by now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  Here is a no-longer updates Aussie website for the Phantom , it went into the late 00s IIRC...

http://www.deepwoods.org .

  I splurged on an airmail subscription to the Aussie mag some years ago .

  Now , it primarily:

  (1) Reprints the material put to-gether in Denmark - though with Swedish as the final language , not Danish - by Egmont . This fills most standard issues .

  (2) Reprints the contemporary daily and Sunday strip's material , in black and white .

  (3) Does some " from the vaults " first-time Aussie printings of Egmont material that had not been printed in Australia before , plus miscellany .

  (4) In giant-sized issues - and , in SUPER-gigantic yearbook-type issues of multi-hunfdeds of pages , re-reprints Falk daily strips !

( The comic is always B&W , just to underline this , and in the contemporary Egmont material , they digitally take out the colo(u)r . )

 

  While I'm hoping that my extension to my original answer to MSA comes up , let me mention one oddity about - well , two - choices of running villians:

  One , the multigenerational aspect appears to extend to a tendency for the Phantom to fight multigenerational conspiracies/groups - The Singh Brotherhood are his #1 villians - and a Catwoman-like sort-of rival for Diana comes from an all-female band of air pirates known as the Sky Band !

...I am hoping that the revisions and expansions I did to my two " complete " posting above are NOT lost ( I.e. , apart from the one that just repeated one post w/a shorter version of what I'm saying here. . )

  Unfortunately:-( , it is looking like the 2nd parts , the revisions/expansions , of the two full posts I did above that were rooted in replying to MSA'a comment admiiting his relaive ignorance of the Phantom's backfround  did not go up...That is , the initial versions of my two posts went up , but the respective additions/corrections on both of them , parts 2 and 4 of four parts of real posting , did not go up...:-( .

  I do hope that that's not so .:-(

I'm not sure how the Phantom qualifies as a super-hero.

 

Que?

 

Then what's the Black Panther?  What's Batman?

 

I'm not even sure why he wears that gaudy suit in the jungle and what the mask hides.

 

The Phantom wears the mask and costume partially to scare the hell out of people when he pops up to chastise them.  Also, it helps in convincing the people who have less ... violent... dealings with him ie most of his various allies, that the current Phantom is the same man as the one before and the one before that.

 

He occasionally goes about the world in his 'secret identity' of Kit Walker, and he usually doesn't want people who have met the Phantom to immediately realise that Kit and the Phantom are the same guy.

 

I presume his hardwearing leotard is made of the same ingenious heat-reducing material as the Black Panther's... At least it doesn't look like its made of heat-retaining black velvet and courdouroy, like the King of Wakanda's.

 

To be fair, the Phantom's costume looks great in simple 2 dimensional illustration.  He really dominates each frame he's in.  But much like similar classic superhero costumes (the Flash, Daredevil) it wouldn't look so great in real life.  Luckily, like them, he largely only exists in 2D drawings...

 

[The Phantom strips] always seemed to me to be more concerned with his domestic life with his wife and twins than any real adventures.

 

This aspect of the Phantom is really well handled in my opinion.  Although he's scary and mean with seemingly supernatural powers when dealing with criminals, the Phantom at home is a model and attentive father, husband and member of the community he lives amongst.  He's actually an all-round model human being, with few hang-ups, a warm and generous disposition and a lot of wisdom.  He can be fallible too, but that makes him more human.  I find the balance between the adventure, when the Phantom gets into the ruck of things, and his downtime is just about right.  The nature of the strips, however, mean that if you start reading when he is relaxing with his family, it may be a week or two before things pick up again.  If you like the Phantom, his downtime is fun.  There is a lot of imagination applied to the idea of bringing up a family in an idyllic Rousseau-ian wilderness, far from the trappings of civilisation.  (His community is much more civilised than ours anyway...)

 

The kids in the loincloths are just an aspect of the Phantom's great respect for the ways of the people he lives amongst.

 

The scary Phantom persona is just a tool he uses and shrugs off when he has other responsibilities.  It makes him a much more admirable character than Batman, who is often shown being scary and mean even with his allies. Unlike in DC comics too, his family and friends are used as more than cannon fodder, and longtime readers get wrapped up in their evolving stories too.  Actually DC could learn a lot from studying how the Phantom has been handled throughout his long history. His situation does evolve and develop, albeit at a glacial pace, without the need for jarring reboots and overly sensationalist or gory plot developments.

 

The Phantom has a lot of great elements that allow for all kinds of stories.  His wife is a UN diplomat (and one-time olympic swimmer) who still has family in the American suburbs, his adopted son has become prince of a small kingdom, he keeps 'the Phantom's peace' in the Jungle, interacts with the Jungle Patrol as the 'Unseen Commander' or travels the world fighting pirates and no-goods.  His cave has libraries of previous Phantoms' adventures, so there are historical tales too.

 

I think he's just great, if you haven't been able to tell!

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